The Automotive Industries Association (AIA) of Canada’s annual Aftermarket Conference for Executives (ACE) is always a highly anticipated event that brings together top executives from the industry. Those who attended this year’s leadership conference in Quebec City were not disappointed as AIA delivered yet another stellar event despite Mother Nature’s last blast of winter weather.
Though snow and freezing rain in Eastern Canada caused travel headaches for many of this year’s attendees, more than 100 executives from across the country were present at the Conference, which was held at the beautiful Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City on April 11th and 12th.
This year’s event was kicked off with a welcome reception on the evening of April 11th. The next day started with AIA’s 71st Annual General Meeting, where Robert Hattem was voted in as the new Chairman of the Board, followed by the official opening of the ACE along with award presentations. This year, Brad Morris of Grote Industries was presented with the YES Young Leader of the Year Award, which recognized his many contributions to the aftermarket industry and to his community, and Marcel Dionne, formerly of UAP Inc., received AIA’s prestigious Distinguished Service Award for his lifelong dedication to the aftermarket industry in Canada.
“I couldn’t imagine a better way to start my term as Chairman than to be involved in the presentation of two of AIA’s most prestigious awards. Both Marcel Dionne, who spent years in the industry before retiring, and Brad Morris, who is still in the early years of his career, have made incredible contributions to our industry and are both very deserving of the recognition they received,” said Robert Hattem, Chairman of the Board.
Following the award presentations, attendees heard a presentation on customer management and the value of customer relationship management (CRM) from students of the Automotive Business School at Georgian College that won AIA’s Student Aftermarket Day presentation competition.
Attendees were then treated to exceptional sessions from this year’s speakers. Award-winning journalist, Dan Gardner, addressed the executives first and offered a new perspective on decision-making in the real world. Next, Dr. Sherry Cooper, former Chief Economist for BMO Financial Group, discussed Canada’s current and future financial outlook. Following her presentation, the executives enjoyed lunch where they were able to network with their peers and meet the Honourable Jean Charest, one of Canada’s best known political figures. Mr. Charest then spoke to attendees about the changing economic and political landscape in Canada and its impact on Canadian businesses.
“AIA’s mandate is to promote, educate and represent its members in all areas that impact the growth and prosperity of the industry, and this event is a perfect example of how we do that,” said Marc Brazeau, President and CEO, AIA Canada. “Bringing together top industry executives, providing them with timely information and advice, and challenging them to grow benefits everyone in the industry, and I am very pleased with the success of this year’s ACE.”
Please check the AIA Facebook page for photos from the event.